Now, a post like this has to be prefaced by an emphasis on the fact that it outlines my experience and intends no disrespect towards make-up/those who wear it/particular brands. I still love reading beauty blogs and have by no means gone makeup free: in the pictures featured on this post I am wearing mascara and lipstick, and have a foundation routine for special occasions. Highlighter is still the perfect trick for whenever my face appears a bit two-dimensional. Yet, my current look is a significant change from the start of 2017. My everyday routine used to take an hour or more (as opposed to 0-15 minutes nowadays), included everything from contouring and Instagram eyebrows to layering three different lipsticks. So, why did I make this change and go from carrying out every YouTube tutorial on my face each morning to something a little bit (a lot) more lowkey?
I don’t suit heavy makeup. Some girls look like goddesses with fake eyelashes and eyeliner thicker than the average person’s wallet. In my case, however, all it does is bring out my flaws and ‘weighs down’ my face instead of emphasising any positive qualities. I have quite a narrow face with does not correspond well with contouring. Sometimes it looked good in photographs, but no one enjoys the luxury of being followed around by Instagram-makeup-friendly lighting. As mentioned previously, many girls look stunning after one hour in the bathroom, but I am much better off, and much more confident with a subtler look which is just an outcome of genetics and the natural features I happened to acquire.
I’m not very good at it. The above being said, I’m sure a celebrity makeup artist could turn me into a queen of smokey eyes, and I just happen to be someone who will always be a noob. Being artistically incompetent (except for editing my Instagram pics, maybe?), I’m not one of those girls who can refine her skills to perfection from a few tutorials, and no matter how hard I try, my attempts never turn out as expected.
I did it for the wrong reasons. This is perhaps the predominant cause. I spent years telling myself I enjoyed spending hours in front of the mirror, that I had a passion for the process. Sometimes I did enjoy experimenting with makeup, trying different looks, but it was not enough to justify and counterbalance the numerous times when I did it because I saw no alternative. I understand many people thrive from doing makeup. Their life and career revolves around it. To others, it is a confidence boost and a means of empowerment, which is another valid reason for wearing as much as you like. In my case, it had the adverse effect. I saw myself as horrendously ugly and although I didn’t want to admit this at the time, the ‘celebrities’ I saw on tumblr and Instagram subconsciously influenced an attempt to replicate every trend, to condense myself into a framework. This seldom worked, and further erased my confidence. Worse, I stopped feeling like myself because I was trying too hard to emulate other people. However, when I visited my family in Russia a few weeks ago, I received numerous comments about how I finally looked like me again, which was more wonderful to hear than I could’ve imagined.
It took too much time. Being a morning person, waking up at 5:30 was rarely a struggle, but the ability to allocate the early hours (when I tend to me the most productive) towards something else has benefited me enormously. Once again, I don’t judge anyone for the time they invest in makeup, be it thirty minutes, an hour, the whole day, especially if it is a source of enjoyment. In my case, however, it was an empty pursuit of confidence and a face contouring and highlighting could never give me.
I wanted to clear up my skin. I’ve never struggled with severe acne or skin-related issues but when I wore layers of thick foundation on a daily basis, I had plenty of smaller pimples on my forehead and chin. I fell into a self-reinforcing cycle where I covered bad skin using heavy coverage foundation, which in turn exacerbated the underlying issue. Hence, I chose to suffer through a few weeks of exposing my bear face to receive the long term benefits. Minimising foundation usage, I can say with certainty, has helped my skin more than anything else.
I managed to grow back my eyebrows. This is a genuine reason – bear with me. Back in 2015 I stupidly over-plucked my eyebrows, which spiralled into shaving off almost 3/4 of the poor things. I never had enough patience to grow them back, maintaining a shaving-drawing back on pattern, and sometimes drawn on Instagram eyebrows looked slightly odd without an entire face of similarly intense makeup to accompany then. Now that my brows are back (everyone should hope this time it’s for good!) the latter is no longer necessary.
To summarise, I guess it all amounts to the way in which I spent too much time, money and energy on something I fundamentally didn’t want to do and from which I failed to derive the intended confidence boost. Hence, wearing less makeup has been an important step in my journey towards coming to terms with my appearance and self-appreciation. Ultimately we should do whatever feels right within our hearts, whether that’s wearing a lot of makeup or none, support each other in our decisions and embrace making changes whenever this is beneficial to our happiness and mental/emotional wellbeing!
I hope you enjoyed reading tonight’s little ramble and be sure to tell me in the comments – do you like wearing makeup? Why/ why not?
Lots of love, Maria xoxo